November is National Native American Heritage Month, and throughout the country individuals and organizations celebrate the culture, character and history of Native Americans. To honor the historical month, we’ve gathered five informational books and articles on Kateri Tekakwitha, the newly sainted Native American and opened up these five reference works on Tekakwitha free for a month. Enjoy!
This book delves into the relationship between the Americanization at an individual level. While historians are familiar with the epidemics, conquests and introduction of a strange religion to the Native Americans as a whole, the effects on an individual level are not as clear. Greer unearths the life of Tekakwitha and her relationship with the Jesuit missionaries. [Greer, Allan. Mohawk Saint: Catherine Tekakwitha and the Jesuits. New York: Oxford UP, 2005. Questia.]
Orphaned at age four as the result of a smallpox epidemic, Kateri Tekakwitha rose from her troubled childhood to lead a meaningful life. Though she was raised as a traditional Mohawk girl, she converted to Christianity at age 20. She was persecuted by her family and neighbors for choosing the foreign lifestyle and eventually ran away. She refused to marry and took a vow of perpetual virginity. [Lemire, Paula Anne Sharkey. “Lily of the Mohawks.” Michigan History Magazine November-December 2007: 10+. Questia.]
In the 1880’s, reforming voices – mainly from the east – started to clamor settlers more to end violence and for assistance to bring the poor Indian into the American mainstream. Through military conquest, school initiatives and the Dawes Act, a separate way of life wasn’t likely for the Indians. In the spiritualization spectrum, Tekakwitha emerged as the ideal candidate for canonization and she served as a symbolic antidote to the negative associations the Church faced. [Greer, Allan. “Natives and Nationalism: The Americanization of Kateri Tekakwitha.” The Catholic Historical Review 90.2 (2004): 260. Questia.]
According to Holmes, Tekakwitha has become known as “the voice, presence and identity of Native Americans” in the church. Through four interrelated narrative ways, Tekakwitha is given a “voice” by her contemporary devout. The layering of reclamations constitutes what Holmes refers to as narrative repatriation. [Holmes, Paula E. “The Narrative Repatriation of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.” Anthropologica43.1 (2001): 87. Questia.]
Contrary to the “squaw” or “princess” stereotypes, Native American women have played an important role in both traditional and contemporary culture. Pocahontas, Sacagawea, Lozen and Dahteste have histories filled with tales of sacrifice and exploits to create a warrior type status, but have the stories been perpetuated myths? Bataille and Lisa strive to present an accurate account of the lives of historical Native American women. [Bataille, Gretchen M., and Laurie Lisa, eds. Native American Women: A Biographical Dictionary. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2001. Questia.]
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